You’re walking through the woods and you come across a half-eaten carcass buried under loose leaves and brush. Mountain lions will feed off a catch for a few days. The best thing to do is to back away slowly, while still making a bit of noise so as not to surprise the cougar. Stay vigilant, as they ambush from behind.
Having a mountain lion roaming in or around your property can be a huge source of worry. Due to shrinking habitats, it’s not uncommon for mountain lions to target easy prey such as livestock or pets.
Mountain Lion and Livestock
Mountain lions are one of the deadliest predators in North America and will go after a number of prey, though their favored meal is deer. If you have a large population of deer nearby, it’s possible a mountain lion will also be wandering around. Because humans have been encroaching on their habitats for years, livestock such as cows, sheeps and goats are also sometimes the targets of mountain lions, if the opportunity permits. While guard dogs may be able to frighten them with their barking, they are no match for an adult lion looking for food. While rare, attacks on people have happened.
Mountain Lion Behavior
It’s important to remember that mountain lions would prefer not to have to deal with humans. Unfortunately, there are situations in which they may be tempted to look for an easy, though risky meal.
Sick, injured or old mountain lions are more likely to look to livestock in order to save energy. Younger lions, unfamiliar with humans and looking for a territory to make their own might be tempted by livestock due to the slim pickings in the only territory left for them. Finally, in a cougar’s mind, we are as much in their territory as they are in ours, so any unwary movements by humans may be interpreted by a mountain lion as those of a prey vulnerable to attack.
Mountain-Lion-Proofing and Deterrence
Clearing an area of vegetation is a good way to remove cover for mountain lions, as they hunt by stalking their prey. Appropriate fencing (strong gauge wire at around 10 feet high with one foot below ground) should be installed around large livestock and play areas. Small animals like chickens should be enclosed all around and from the top. Outdoor wildlife lighting, ammonia-soaked rags and loud noise playing such as music can also all serve as deterrents to a prowling lion.
It’s also a good idea to always have an eye on pets and children playing outside and to keep them inside from dusk to dawn.
One thing you most definitely do not want are deer and other wild prey ambling about near your property, so you should avoid feeding wild animals and also think about clearing plants that would attract them.
Talk to an AAAC Wildlife Removal expert who can evaluate your property and suggest an appropriate strategy.